Hey folks, we’ve got a spell of nice weather in the forecast for the weekend. Now is the time for an opportunity to wet a line, enjoy some great scenery, and have a shot at solitude on the river. Some steelhead are being caught with a good mix of whitefish and cutthroat as well.
A few tips for handling the fish this time of year:
- Use a net with a rubberized bag whenever possible. ( Knotted nets are prone to tangling and rubbing scales and slime off fish)
- Don’t drag fish up on the shore to land them if they are going to be released. Instead slide your hand down the leader to the bend of the hook and gently twist the hook point out. Remember IDFG requires hooks to be de-barbed when angling for steelhead or salmon!
- Minimize air exposure when handling fish. Generally, any fish you plan on releasing should remain in the water the entire time.
- If you are taking a photo, keep the mouth and gills submerged in the water. Extremely cold air (below 32 degrees Fahrenheit) can damage the gills of the fish, potentially leading to mortality. Similarly, air exposure deprives the fish of oxygen and can severely reduce the spawning fitness of the fish.
- Wet your hands and gently cradle the belly of the fish while grasping the tail more firmly with the other hand. The more gentle you are, the less the fish seem to writhe around.
This is the time of year that more folks start showing up to the area to fish. Remember to be respectful and give other anglers their space. Generally, if there is a car parked at a run I go somewhere else. Some of the more popular holes might have a packed crowd so communicate with the anglers around you to avoid tangles and disputes.
As far as tactics go, the old standard– stonefly trailed by an egg– is definitely producing. We were out a few days ago and pink seemed to be the ticket to stimulating a bite. Despite low, clear conditions, the fish were favoring larger profile offerings ( likely due to the cold water temps). Remember that every day is different and some experimentation is required to figure out the program. If I were swinging flies right now, I’d shoot for black flies with a pink head and plenty of supple marabou to provide movement in softer currents. Hardware guys might do well with copper or silver spoons and spinners.
We’ve got some great new stuff in the shop with more on the way so if you’re looking for something new to show the fish, stop on by. We will be glad to help get you set up and pointed in the right direction.
Have fun and fish thoroughly,